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The National Implementation Program for the Baltic Sea Action Plan in Russia has not started yet and will start neither in 2013 nor in 2014!

Author: Olga Senova

Sewage
In the end of 2011 “Friends of the Baltic” appealed to the Ministry of Natural Resources asking about the status and progress of the "National Implementation Programme on improvement and rehabilitation of the Baltic Sea ecosystem" (NIP).
Draft of the NIP was submitted in May 2010. In response, the Ministry of Natural Resources said that the NIP has not passed all approvals yet and it is not included in the plans for 2012-2014.

The draft of Russian NIP was introduced in May 2010 at HELCOM international conference in Moscow when Russia after two years of presidency in HELCOM transferred its authority to Poland. NIPs are already working in all countries of the Baltic Sea region and are aiming at the implementation of the international Baltic Sea Action Plan approved by HELCOM in 2007.

In the Russian part of the Baltic Sea the implementation of the actions of the NIP could not be more relevant. It includes wastewater treatment in the Russian part of the Baltic Sea basin (there are still no sewage treatment plants in many cities and towns in Russia, including Kaliningrad, towns and villages on the shore of the Gulf of Finland and on the rivers flowing into it), reduction of the pollution with agricultural waste, toxic waste and many other emergency measures.Dirty waters
Immediately after HELCOM conference in Moscow, NGO members of the international Coalition Clean Baltic presented their views on the issue at the press conference.

According to the draft of the NIP presented in May 2010 by the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources at the HELCOM Ministerial Meeting, most of the activities due to be implemented by 2013. But the response of the Ministry of Natural Resources to our request states that none of the NIP activities are planned either for the 2012 or 2013 or 2014.

The official response states that: “The package of (NIP) documents is approved by the Plenipotentiary Envoy of the President in the North-West Federal District, by the heads of the six subjects of the Russian Federation located in the Baltic Sea catchment area, by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, by the Ministry of Education and Science of Russia, by the Ministry of Transport of Russia, by the Ministry of Agriculture of Russia, by the Ministry of Regional Development of Russia, by Russian Federal Fisheries Agency, by Federal Marine and River Transport Agency, by State Corporation "Rosatom", by Federal Service of Russia for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring and by Federal Agency on Subsoil Use... At the same time approvals from the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade and from the Ministry of Finance of Russia are not received yet. The NIP is not included into the governmental list of Federal Target Programs to be funded by the federal budget in 2012 and in 2013-2014 planning period, and assignments for its implementation are not provided by the Federal Law № 371-FZ of 30.11.2011”

This means that untreated sewage from dozens of cities and towns as well as agricultural waste will continue to fall directly into the Baltic Sea in the next three years, causing overgrowth of the coastal zone, growth of blue-green algae and the destruction of marine life.

WaterIn this case, the slowness of Russian authorities entails negative consequences not only for Russian territorial waters, but for the entire Baltic Sea. It implies not only the destruction of natural ecosystems, but also an economic losses caused by the destruction of natural resources for fishing and recreational businesses.

“Friends of the Baltic” NGO, member of the international Coalition Clean Baltic, believes that the program must be approved in the nearest future. We consider it necessary to adjust the plan for 2013-2014, to include the NIP activities in it and to amend the Federal Law № 371 of 30.11.2011 "On the Federal Budget for 2012 and for the planning period of 2013 and 2014"

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